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Henry VII

In 1486, Henry married Elizabeth of York. They had:
Margaret that married James IV, king of Scotland

Henry VIII (1491-1547)

He made the English monarchy really strong.
He had six wives:
-Catherine of Aragon: he had been married for five years. In that time only one of their children, Mary, had survived.
In 1528 he felt in love with another woman, Anna Boleyn. Henry pressed the Pope Clement VIII to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon. Pope Clement VII might have granted this, but the emperor Charles V was Catherine of Aragon’s nephew and stood in the way of annulment,
In 1533 Henry VIII secretly married Anne Boleyn and their child was a girl, Elisabeth.
The Church of Rome declared Henry’s marriage null and for this in 1534 Henry VIII proclaimed the act of Supremacy, which made the Church of England independent by the Church of Rome and stated that the king was the Supreme Head of the Church.
Henry VIII was the creator of Anglican Church.

Boleyn was a fervent Anglican.
By 1536 Anne began to lose favour with Henry, because even she managed to give birth to a male son. For this Henry invented and adultery abusation to marry another woman.

Jane Seymour: She was the third wife of Henry VIII. They married in 1536
They had Edward but Jane Seymour died a few weeks after their child’s birth.
Cromwell wanted Henry to marry a protestant princess that came from German: Anne of Cleves. In 1540 Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves but because she was not pretty for him and for political reason the marriage lasted only few months and they hadn’t any child.

Katherine Howard: She was the five wife of Henry VIII. In 1540 they married but in 1545 was beheaded

Catherine Parr (1543-1547): she was the sixth and the last wife of Henry VIII.
She married the king in his last year. Before died Henry VIII went to France.

In England there were more protestant than Anglican.

Edward VI: he was the son of the third wife of Henry VIII. Henry died in 1547 and Edward became king at 10 years. He had a protector who ruled for him:
-The first was the Duke of Somerset (his uncle) : tolerant with Catholics even if he was Anglican but in court he wouldn’t seem a good person and so he was beheaded.
His new protector was the Duke of Northumberland who tried to get marry Edward VI with Lady Grey.
In 1553 Edward died.

Edward was succeeded to the throne by his half sister Mary (1553-1558)
Mary, a devote Catholic, reinstated the bishops, introduced a counter reformation and she married Philip II, king of Spain.
The queen was involved in a persecution and about 300 protestant were killed. It’s for this that she is also called Bloody Mary.

First she killed the Duke of Northumberland.

Mary died in 1558 and she was succeeded by her half sister, Elizabeth I (1558-1603).
Elizabeth set about weakening the power of Rome in her realm.
In her first Parliament of 1559 the Act of Supremacy was passed, proclaiming her the Supreme Governor of the Realm in spiritual matters.
Any bishop who refused to take the oath of supremacy was deprived of sees, but not executed.

Elizabeth was also known as the Virgin queen and her refusal to marry a foreign monarch showed her intention to preserve the country from foreign domination.
She never said it and so for the next twenty years both Spain and France tried to secure England as an ally through marriage to its queen.

During Elizabeth reign England emerged as a maritime force and a colonial power. Virginia was discovered in 1584 and in 1588 a small English navy, managed by Sir Francis defeated the Spanish Armada, the gigantic Spanish fleet carrying the expeditionary force sent by Philip II of Spain to conquer England.

The execution of Mary Stuart happened during the reign of Elizabeth.
After an absence of twelve years, Mary, the daughter of James V and Mary of Guise, returned from France to Scotland to be proclaimed queen (1560).
She had been married to the Dauphin and before the death of her husband she had sat on the French throne. During her absence the preaching of John Knox had given an impulse to the cause of Reformation and Scotland had adopted Presbyterianism, a Calvinistic brand of Protestantism. The young queen, a fervent Catholic, was force to sign an abdication in favor of her son and to appoint a Presbyterian regent.

In 1568 she fled to England trusting in the friendship of Elizabeth, her cousin.
Her presence on the English land was extremely embarrassing because she was the legittime son of Henry VIII and Elizabeth was the illegitimate son. For this at the end Elizabeth ordered to execute Mary.

John Knox (1513-1572) was the man who established Protestantism in Scotland in the form of the Presbyterian Church. John began preaching the reformed religion in 1547. In 1551 he went to England to be Champlain to king Edward VI. When the sister of the king came to the throne of England Knox fled to Geneva and there he met the Calvin and he was influenced by his teachings.
One of the beliefs of Calvinism was that God foreordains and foreknows all things, including man’s destiny.

In 1603 Elizabeth died and the throne went to James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary Stuart. With the accession of James I (1603-1625) the crowns of England and Scotland were united.
In 1604 he made immediately clear that he would not accept the Puritans and was not tolerant with Catholics.
On 5 November 1605 there was the Gunpowder Plot. Its intention was to blow up both Parliament and the king at the same time and with Spanish help restore the Roman Catholic religion to England.

In 1620 a group of Puritans decided to leave England. A ship called Mayflower with a group of Puritans set sail for America to escape religious persecution.

1608-1611 There was the plantation of Ulster and caught Northern Ireland

James I, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I were patron of arts.
England was delayed in culture. During 16 century:
• Humanism: man became the center of human reflection
• Renaissance: Portraits started to be painted, very common of arts. Symbolic painting

In this period theatre became popular among poor and rich people.
In 1570 was built the first theatre on the South Bank of River Thames.
Located outside the city walls, the first, the fist playhouse was built in 1576 and was called The Theatre. It was followed by The Curtain, The Swan, The Rose, and the Globe (1599). In the last Shakespeare represented his operas.
The Elizabeth playhouse was circular and made by wood.

There was the playwright that was who wrote the comedy, the director that was who directed the comedy and the actors: they created the atmosphere through words.
Women weren’t allowed to act. Actors had no good social positions because they were vagabonds.
The playwrights were influenced by
• Greek: Sophocles, Aristophanes, Euripides, Socrates
• Latin: Plautus, Terence

The main theatrical genres of the renaissance were
• Comedy: less classes
• Tragedy: upper classes

According to Aristotle a good play had to show 3 things:
• Unit of space: set in one place
• Unit of time: should happen in one day
• Unit of action: limited to a single plot
Seneca wrote tragedies: the themes were revenge, pulps…
These returned during the Renaissance: there was a new genre called Senchian tragedies in 1600 (the Spanish tragedy).


He was a playwright but also an actor.
We don’t know much about his life. We know something from official documents such as his birth certificate, his marriage certificate, his death certificate.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford Upon Avon in 1564 in a middle class family. His father was a glover. He studied at the grammar local school Latin and Greek The financial conditions of the family had problems and he had to leave school.
He married Anne Hathaway , eight years his senior and they had three children. He left his village and he moved to London. There is a legend that said that he was deer-stealing. He wrote a satirical poem against the man who had accused him.
In London during 1592 William Shakespeare was known as an actor and as a playwright.
1592 was the year of an outbreak of the plague and the theatres were closed. From 1594 he worked for the Lord Chamberlain’s Man, In 1603 the company came under James I as the King’s Men.

Shakespeare wrote
• Plays
• Poems: sonnets lyrical poetry
o Narrative poems: Venus and Adonis
o the Rape of Lucrece

Shakespeare worked in two theatres: the Globe and the Theatre that was covered.

There is a legend around Shakespeare: he is considered as English Bard and a literary genius but not a solitary genious. His places adopted lots of literary sources like Italian novellas.

The first edition that was published was called in quarto that was written on a big paper that was folded in four parts. It was an impure text because it wasn’t reliable.

The second edition was called First Folio: it contains 36-38 plays.

H and it was created by two actors that worked with him in 1623.

Shakespeare lived in London from 1590 to 1610. He died in 1616 at Stratford

He wrote 38 plays that can be divided in 4 genres:
o Comedies (1590)
o Histories (1590)
o Tragedies (1600-1610)
o Romances, last plays (1608-1611)

He introduced a new genre: historical settings.
It goes from middle ages to the beginning of tudor dynasty. He wrote to legitimize the Tudor Dinasty.
He wrote this in the last year of Elizabeth I because she was old and had no son and so he wanted to legimize her.

Aristotele didn’t write Histories because he studied only Comedies and Tragedies.
Shakespeare invented a new genre mixing that: the tragicomedies.

He used the verse for the high class and the prose for the low class.
He used blank verse that was unrhymed verse having a regular meter, usually of iambic pentameter.

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